Direct Sales Boost Williams-Sonoma's Q3 Performance

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Williams-Sonoma Inc., San Francisco, reported yesterday that net revenue for its fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 31 totaled $722.8 million, up 14.2 percent from the year-ago quarter. Same-store sales rose 3.1 percent.


The multichannel marketer of home products debuted its latest brand in the third quarter. The first issue of the Williams-Sonoma Home catalog mailed the week of Sept. 13.


Direct-to-consumer sales, comprising catalog and Internet, gained 17.7 percent in the quarter, reaching $281.5 million. The increase was driven mainly by the Pottery Barn, Pbteen, West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids brands. Internet sales alone jumped 43.6 percent to $118.3 million.


Based on early results for the fourth quarter, with sales trends proving more volatile than expected for this time of year, the company is cautious about its performance for the holiday season. As a result, it has lowered its sales estimates.


Williams-Sonoma projects retail net sales for fourth-quarter fiscal 2004 ranging from $682 million to $697 million, down from the previous estimate of $691 million to $706 million. This represents a projected increase of 9.1 percent to 11.5 percent versus fourth-quarter 2003.


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